STORY OF BARONG

Ubud Tours - Barong Dance

STORY OF BARONG

 

Barong is a lion-like creature and character in the mythology of BaliIndonesia. He is the king of the spirits, leader of the hosts of good, and enemy of Rangda, the demon queen and mother of all spirit guarders in the mythological traditions of Bali. The battle between Barong and Rangda is featured in the Barong dance to represent the eternal battle between good and evil.

Barong animal mask dance, together with sanghyang dance are considered native Balinese dances, predating Hindu influences. The native Indonesians of Austronesian heritage often have similar mask dances that represent either ancestral or natural spirits; an example is Dayak’s Hudoq dance. The term barong is thought to have been derived from the local term bahruang, which today corresponds to the Indonesian word beruang which means “bear”. It refers to a good spirit, that took the form of an animal as the guardian of forest.

In Balinese mythology, the good spirit is identified as Banas Pati Raja. Banas Pati Raja is the fourth “brother” or spirit child that accompanies a child throughout their life, which is a similar concept to guardian angels. Banas Pati Raja is the spirit which animates Barong. A protector spirit, he is often represented as a lion. The Barong is often portrayed accompanied by two monkeys.

Barong is portrayed as a lion with a red head, covered in white thick fur, and wearing gilded jewelry adorned with pieces of mirrors. The shape of lion Barong is somewhat similar to a Pekingese dog. The origins of the Barong are far a back in time and quite uncertain. Its origins could be from animist worship, before Hinduism appeared, when villagers still believed in the supernatural protective power of animals.

keris. At the end, Barong won, and Rangda ran away.

Barong dance performance with kris-wielding dancers and Rangda in Bali

The lion is the popular one, as it comes from the Gianyar region, where Ubud (the home of tourist’s Balinese dance ritual viewing) is located. Within the calon arang, the dance drama in which the Barong appears, the barong responds to Rangda’s use of magic to control and kill her to restore balance. In traditional Barong dance performances, he is portrayed in his struggles against Rangda, it is the popular part of Balinese culture. The mythical creature would dance along the street to the calon arang dance. A priest would throw holy water at it.

  • The dance opens with two playful monkeys teasing Barong in a peaceful environment.
  • The next scene is popularly known as “Keris Dance”. The Rangda character appears and wreaks havoc. She casts black magic upon male dancers, who represent Airlangga’s soldiers, and orders them to commit suicide. In a trance, these men stab themselves on their chest with their own kris. Meanwhile, Barong and the priest cast protective magic on these men, which makes them invulnerable to sharp objects.
  • The dance ends with the final battle between Barong and Rangda, concluding with the victory of Barong over Rangda. Rangda runs away, the evil is defeated, and the celestial order is restored. visit to ubud tour

 

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